I’ll be here for a little bit yet, but I’m going. Soon.
Today I told them. The entire congregation. Well, everyone who was here between the various worship services. My Bride said that as I read the letter saying I was leaving, the congregation stopped breathing.
And my little girl burst into tears.
She’s not mad at me – or if she is, she’s doing a terrible job of being mad. We cuddled this afternoon and played games together and roughhoused. My oldest seems to be taking it in stride. My youngest had no clue what’s going on. He’s just whizzing around the house like normal, fighting invisible bad guys.
When I announced, there were a few tears. Apparently a lot of people were very surprised. But then again, they didn’t see the need of the other congregation. They don’t see the problems here that I’m no longer equipped to deal with. And while they know I love them, they have not seen my heart.
I should be struggling with a mix of elation and loss right now. Elation that I’m going someplace new to serve in a new adventure. What isn’t appealing about that? Loss that I am leaving so many people I love so, so deeply.
You know what I have instead?
My leadership doesn’t get it. They refuse to get it. Today we met after I announced to walk through the steps of getting a next pastor. And… they want to skip the steps. Or they want to not do some, as, “Well, that doesn’t matter.” Or they want to jump up the ladder of authority and just tell them what we’re demanding.
Basically… now that I’ve announced I’m leaving, all the problems are coming out to play. And until I leave, it’s going to get worse. And after I leave, it’ll continue to get worse. But until I leave, I have to deal with it.
But then… that anger pushes me out to elation. Because I’m going someplace new. A place still infected with sin. A place that still desperately needs Jesus. But a place with different problems. A place where I can serve. Maybe I even learned enough that I can do things better there.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A tunnel lined with anger. And with grief. And yes, just plain sorrow.
But I have a couple months to say good-bye. To serve here. To prepare the people for a time between.
I think… I think I’m ready.
I don’t want to go. I was telling my Bride last week that I love where I’m at. I love (most of) the people I serve. I love this city. I love the unique opportunities for worship here. I don’t want to leave.
But between problems at leadership here, and the other place seeming to fit my abilities perfectly, and their need for a pastor and not having a safety net of surrounding congregations… it’s clear where I should be.
But even with the problems here… I don’t want to go.
But it’s time for a new season.
So… I’m going.